The Untamed

 
Pete Wild is perhaps better known to you as Speed, the DJ often to be found spinning in The Mousetraps Beat Basement in London, UK. But he also runs Circle Records, and the first release came out last year, namely material by the sadly underrated 60s rnb band Lindsay Muirs Untamed.
Thanks to Speed, my questions were passed on, and so heres the man himself, Lindsay Muir

How does it feel to have a record out now, on Circle Records, especially as
it contains tracks that have never been released before?

Very interesting a feeling of déjà vu.

Where have the unreleased tracks been hiding all this time?

Lost in many suitcases, in lofts and attics!

Did any members of The Who ever hear your version of Its Not True? If so, what did they think? Also, did The Untamed and The Action compare notes, having both covered The Land of 1,000 Dances? Now that Reggie King is back on the scene, has he heard the Circle Records release?

Havent got a clue if they heard our Its Not True! no-one told me about it! As for Reggie King / The Action: the two bands never met. I vaguely recall the band, particularly popular in London clubs, werent they? The Untamed were most often touring nationally, some big package tours. Our paths didnt really cross, we walked different streets so to speak.
(Unless he has brought it from a shop, I dont think Reggie King has heard the Lindsay Muirs Untamed record! P.W.)

How did you / do you go about writing songs? Do the songs come out of a jamming session, or does a tune come to you while youre, for example, doing something as unmusical as washing the dishes?

Songs usually do come to me when doing something un-musical. I love cooking, and whilst doing that, the odd line of notes or idea often comes to me. Although Ive got a good memory for such things, I still rush to the keyboard to work the idea out, just in case it does leave my mind. Ive
always written songs on my own, presenting them as almost complete, to other musicians I may be working with. But yes, song ideas always happen for me when doing something unrelated to music.

What reaction did you get from the audiences at your hotel gigs? Did they appreciate where you were coming from? Also, what was it like playing The 007 Rooms at the Hilton in London it sounds like a rather glamorous experience!
At the hotel gigs, we always trod warily at the start, we did many standards and jazz/blues numbers, those most suited to the dinner dance / supper club format. Gradually, as time went on with a residency, and audiences got used to us, we would introduce more typical, real Untamed
stuff as well.
        The 007 Rooms at the London Hilton was very glamorous: there you were, right in the middle of it all, possibly THE best hotel in town. In those days, places used to make stop-offs in their journeys from Europe, en-route to America. Consequently, many (often rich and/or famous people) would be at the Hilton for a night, and would get to see the Untamed too! People often made requests, and being a flexible outfit, we could usually satisfy these. We used to make a fortune in tips usually in a variety of foreign currencies! No, in my opinion, you couldnt get a better showcase, or gig for that mater, for the band, than at the Hilton.

I hear from someone that The Untamed were quite big on the scene along the English south coast in the 60s what was that scene like?
The Untamed were very well-known, and liked, on the English South Coast in the 60s. The scene itself was fantastic, there were lots of venues, especially from Eastbourne through to Portsmouth.  A lot of London bands came down, and there was no shortage of local bands either. Many young kids
drove down from London, particularly to the Shoreline Club, and its teenage hotel, where they could stay overnight after a gig. It was a big old hotel in Bognor Regis, converted to a club with accommodation, especially aimed at teenagers, who wanted time away from parents, police etc., to do their own thing. Not surprisingly, the place got shut down, amidst tales of under-age
sex, drugs and other goings-on! The Untamed played there quite a lot.
        Band-wise, there were definitely a couple of boom years, say mid. 1965 to mid. 1967. During that time, everyone seemed to get a gig, and go down well, on the South Coast. If Donald Duck had been touring, he couldve had a good gig on that scene!!!

Did the Untamed ever have any groupies? as it seems to us nowadays that the prime function of teenage girls in the 60s was to follow groups about and squeal! (I know someone who screamed and chased The Tremelos along Clacton seafront!)
We didnt really refer to the girls as groupies. There were two kinds of girls concerning the band, and a finite line between the two: 1) Girls who travelled around with the band, as close friends, and 2) Girls who came to gigs, and wrote lipstick messages on the van. Dont write-off the second
kind as harmless however, as we had to rub some of the messages off, as they were a bit intimate to drive around with. We never met some of those girls, but it was apparent what they wanted to do to/with us (if they got the chance) from their messages!

What was it like to tour with the Small Faces? I find The Untamed and Small Faces to be quite similar musically did you get on well with each other and find out that you had the same influences?

We didnt actually tour with the Small Faces, but flew to a hall at an army base, near Frankfurt, to film the tv segments. As for comparing The Untamed to the Small Faces we were completely different what a cheek! We saw them as Pop Merchants, for teeny-boppers we were going ages before them! (Its difficult to know whether Lindsay Muir is being serious or deliberately
taking the piss here, as he knows how popular the band are/were with Mods! P.W.). Actually, I knew Ronnie Lane quite well to speak to, he was all right. Steve Marriott though, he was a nutcase, he struck me as really irresponsible, always showing-off, probably because he was full of pills and
whisky most of the time! But the two bands didnt really mix or get to know each other that well.

What was it like being on German TV? Did the Untamed have a strong European following? Were you ever on British TV, such as Ready, Steady, Go?

It wasnt really a big number, doing the German TV thing, just another gig, really. The most interesting ting for me, was being at the U.S. Army base where Elvis Presley had been stationed for a while!
        Yeah, The Untamed had some European fans, quite a few French and German
kids wrote t the fan club.
        We did a lot of British TV (largely wiped or destroyed, footage-wise, today P.W.). We were resident band on the BBCs Beat Room, which was always recorded live (the band played, as opposed to mimed to, their songs). We appeared on ITVs (Thank Your) Lucky Stars, but I hated having to mime to the music on that show. There was a lot of regional tv work too, for the Anglia, Border, HTV companies too. I remember one appearance, where we were promoting Ill Go Crazy, we appeared with Astrud Gilberto. Besides her voice, and obvious good looks, I was fascinated with the fact that she was so tiny and delicate in real life.
        By the way, we never actually did Ready, Steady, Go!

A shallow question, BUT! Where did The Untamed go clothes shopping? I ask this as in photos, you all look rather snappily dressed! What was your favourite clothes style/image?

We bought clothes as and when the mood took us. In the first (pre-Untamed) pro. Band TheUntamed Four, we used to buy all our clothes in London. The clothes shops on Carnaby Street had just got going, we sussed where to go early on (63/64) and bought a lot of stuff there.
        When the five-piece Untamed were in action, and usually on the road all over the country, we shopped separately, all over the place. Tony (Everett, Rhythm guitar), and I my have looked for clothes in Edinburgh, Terry (Slade, Drums) may pick up a jersey in Norwich. No particular plan, just buying when we had the time or inclination.
        Despite the uniform all-black gear, which we wore for the Stateside single promo shots (for the Ill Go Crazy/My Baby Is Gone single), in normal life we were totally different dressers (witness this look in the marvellous book The End of Innocence). On the tour we did with Roy
Orbison, however, we all wore navy reefer jackets, Levi jeans and similar t-shirts and polo-necks (in different colours). We also had our hair dyed blonde, for a camp look. Dear!!!

Are there any bands around nowadays that you particularly like? What was the last record (or CD!) you bought? What was the first record you ever bought?
Mmm a very difficult questions, lets see My last cd was Gerry Mulligan
The Quartet Years about two years ago! With modern music, my favourite keybord players/singer has to be Donald Fagan, ex. of Steel Dan. His Nightfly album is my favourite lp EVER.
        The first record I ever bought, thats easy, it was Brand New Cadillac by Vince Taylor and The Playboys, around 1958, I think. That was real exciting British rock n roll. I liked Cliff Richards rock n roll stuff too Apron Strings, Move It, great, but after he made his first film, he went
down the plug-hole! (dont play those bongos, daddio! Ed.) The same goes for Presley, after he made Love Me Tender, his singles and films were absolute dross!

Did you realise that loads of groovy youngsters were into The Untamed? Were you surprised at how quickly the Its All True lp sold?

Until I met up with Pete Wild, I had no idea at all that young people still rated the band, no idea, zero! When he first phoned up, I thought he was taking the piss!
        Yes, I was surprised that the record initially sold so quickly, and happily surprised, KNOCKED OUT! Im convinced we can shift em ll, things tend to stop for a while, you get more publicity, and they go out again. It was the same for our singles in the 60s. In fact,  several people locally have
hunted me down for them. Duncan, the bass player in The Untamed Four came round recently, picked a vinyl copy up, and said Theyve done a fuckin first class job on this! and I tend to agree.

What are your top ten favourite tunes of all time?

There are so many, but in no particular order of preference:
1.      Yeh Yeh Georgie Fame, classic stuff.
2.      Living Doll Cliff Richard, reminds me of my last holidays from
school, before leaving. Sunny days hanging around the beach, and GIRLS!
3.      Love Me Do the Beatles. The first single that made an impression on
me as English-sounding as opposed to people copying American styles.
4.      Brand New Cadillac Vince Taylor and The Playboys, my first single.
5.      The Saga of Jenny Gertrude Lawrence. This is from around 1941, she
used to sing with Noël Coward. Ira Gerschwin and Kurt Weill wrote it, two
greats in song-writing.
6.      Late night Midnight Gerry Mulligan & His Orchestr. Jazz as it should
be.
7.      Rachmanianovs Piano Concerto No. 2. This was in the film Brief
Encounter. It used to make my mother (who was a brilliant pianist) cry.
8.      The Goodbye Look Donald Fagan. From my favourite album Nightfly.
        Finally, a couple that have been generally popular with the Muirs:
9.      Running in the Family Level 42.
10.      Our House Madness.

Describe The Untamed in five wordsWhy FIVE words?
Ill say (to be) Different Enough to be Liked.

Anything youd like to add?

Just, how kind of you to ask these questions, and how nice it is that you even wanted to know anything! (aw, shucks! Ed.)

Now, of course, youd like a copy of Its All True, Circle Record compliation of Lindsay Muirs Untamed recordings, spanning their 1966 Saturday Club recordings to some rip-roaring 1969 tracks, and theyre rnb all the way! Definitely along the lines of Small Faces, Who, Action,
Spencer Davis Group (not that these bands were influences, Im just trying to give you an idea of the sound of this band who didnt lose their heads to psychedelia!). If you like mid-60s British bands then this is the album for you!

Available in some record shops, or you can order a copy directly from Circle Records: CD: £14.25 (UK), £16.25 (Europe), £16.75 (rest of the world). LP:
£14.75 (UK), £16.75 (rest of the world). Cheques etc. payable to: Circle
Records. Please send your orders to: Circle Records / PO Box 62 /
Sutton-in-Ashfield / Notts / NG17 4HA / UK.
Tel/fax: 01623 555192. Tel: 01623 554042.
 

by Heren Barrell